Jumping the Soapbox: A Banana Splitting Headache and Hanna-Barbera’s Confusing Existence

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The Banana Splits is owned by Warner Bros

All other copyrights are the property of their respective owners.

Do any of you even know who The Banana Splits are?  Of course not!  They were on the lower tier of Hanna-Barbera creations and because they were live action characters they never got that extra bump of popularity that many of their other creations did when they started randomly pairing them up on shows like Yogi’s Gang where they flew around in a giant flying ark.  Yeah, Hanna-Barbera is weird like that, but the thing about The Banana Splits is… I actually really like them!  I remember watching a marathon of episode back when you had to actually watch TV on a TV, and I thought it was a fun little slice of sixties nonsense!  A bunch of dudes in animal costumes playing bubblegum pop and doing slapstick?  What’s not to like!?  And guess what?  THEY’RE MAKING A MOVIE ABOUT THEM!!  OH BOY!  It looks like someone has finally realized how groovy these cats (and dogs and monkeys and elephants) are and are giving them the big screen treatment they deserve, right?  RIGHT!?

Sigh…

So it turns out that SOMEONE thought it would be brilliant and edgy to take lovable characters aimed at children… and turn them into monsters in a horror movie; straight up.  I mean yeah, they’re clearly playing up the absurdity of it but it just looks like a miserable experience outside of how senseless its UNIQUE SELLING POINT is.  Actually, even more blatant than the simple “shock” value of taking character aimed at kids and making them creepy (congratulations; you’re where Creepy Pasta was twenty years ago) is that they are only doing this to beat the Five Nights at Freddy movie to the punch.  I mean they weren’t robots in the original series either within the fiction of the show (they were anthropomorphic animals in a band) or the reality of its production which was done by people in costumes which is CLEARLY the case here as well.

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“WHAT IS MY PRIMARY DIRECTIVE!?”     “Okay, try to be like this video game, but NOT like this video game at the same time.”     “DOES NOT COMPUTE!!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Trailer Talk (Sonic the Hedgehog)

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Sonic the Hedgehog is owned by Paramount Pictures and all the images you see in this trailer talk are the property of their respective owners

Directed by Jeff Fowler

Tis a day that we have been all dreading for… I don’t know, two months now?  Yeah, it looks like those horrible production skills were not in fact a mistimed April Fools prank and were leading up to an actual movie whose trailer has just been released.  I’m not gonna lie.  Whether or not this actually ends up looking good or is total hot garbage is immaterial to me because I’m looking forward to this thing no matter what form it takes.  Will it be the former which would be unbelievably impressive considering they have to work around that rather awful design, or are we stuck with the latter which is exciting in its own right just to see what depths a studio will sink to when given this monkey’s paw of a franchise?  Well the only way we’re gonna find out is diving right on in!  Okay, so right off the bat we see a blue blur of energy streak by on some empty country road which then speeds through a forest into what looks to be Peter Rabbit’s hole in the ground.  The place is adorned with various pieces of trash and snack foods he’s managed to scrounge up over the years, a giant stack of shoes which becomes somewhat suspect when you realize he wears the same pair all the time, and a cassette player because I guess kids are supposed to know what that is?  Oh, and it gets better!  The song that Sonic pops into the player and scores the entire trailer is none other than Coolio’s Gangsta’s Paradise.

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I guess we’re officially past Eye of the Tiger being the go to inspirational music cue.  God, we’re all getting old…

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Cinema Dispatch: Trailer Talk (Pokémon: Detective Pikachu)

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Pokémon: Detective Pikachu is owned by Warner Bros Pictures and all the images you see in this trailer talk are the property of their respective owners

Directed by Rob Letterman

We knew this was coming and yet it still feels totally unreal, doesn’t it?  They’re FINALLY going forward with a live action Pokémon movie and frankly they seemed to have made the smart move by going with one of the Pikachu spin-offs rather than try to encompass the entirety of the Pokémon experience into one movie, but hey!  Just give it a few years and we’ll surely get our Pokémon Trilogy followed by a Pokémon Expanded Universe, so for now let’s take a look at the trailer for what will surely be one of the biggest films of next year!  The first thing I’m sure everyone noticed is HOW FREAKING DARK THE TONE OF THIS MOVIE IS!!  I mean sure, it’s not Bladerunner, Sin City, or even Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but the aesthetic here is unlike anything I’ve ever seen associated with Pokémon; even that Pokémon Coliseum game with that broody looking protagonist.  It’s ridiculously incongruous in so many ways; especially where this dude who looks MAYBE sixteen is supposedly a grown ass man on the police force (maybe?) and lives in Daredevil’s apartment complete with overbearing neon lights constantly seeping through the cracks of his blinds, and we have moody cinematography with wistful music over freaking Pokémon posters on his walls!  It’s utterly ridiculous and frankly feels about on par with the Super Mario Bros movie as far as strange yet oddly compelling design choices for such a kid friendly franchise.  Yeah, I said it!  Super Mario Bros THE MOVIE looks pretty cool!

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Is that the Umbrella logo!?  THE EXPANDED UNIVERSE IS ALREADY HERE!!

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Cinema Dispatch: Trailer Talk (Halloween)

HALLOWEENTTCD0Halloween is owned by Universal Pictures and all the images you see in this trailer talk are the property of their respective owners

Directed by David Gordon Green

So it’s no surprise that we were gonna get another Halloween movie at some point.  In fact, last time I heard at least, it was going to be a sequel with Michael in jail on the day of his execution and running wild in the prison which would have been an INTERESTING idea I guess, it was eventually scrapped once Dimension lost the rights to the franchise in 2015.  Instead, we’re going back to basics with one last tale of Michael and Laurie resolving their differences with extreme acts of violence, and they even got Jamie Lee Curtis to take up the mantle one last time.  So now that we have a trailer, what do I think of it?  I guess I LIKE it, but I’m not in love with it.  Jamie Lee Curtis is always great, and David Gordon Green is an… interesting choice for director (this is the dude who did the stoner trifecta of Pineapple Express, Your Highness, and The Sitter), and yet it doesn’t seems suspiciously safe for a movie about a guy who commits vicious knife murders.

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“Hey, how’s it going?  Having a fun Halloween?”

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Cinema Dispatch: Trailer Talk (The Happytime Murders)

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The Happytime Murders is owned by STXfilms and all the images you see in this trailer talk are the property of their respective owners

Directed by Brian Henson

If you follow movie news rather closely (or did a google search after the trailer drop), you’d be aware that this is a project that has been in development hell for quite a few years; languishing at Lionsgate for many years before finally getting switched over to STX in 2015 which is who is finally getting this thing into theaters.  Apparently the story of a hardboiled detective who is ALSO a puppet wasn’t the easiest concept to produce even it sounds like THE GREATEST IDEA EVER, but now that this is ACTUALLY turning into a real film instead of a piece of strange Hollywood trivia, what do I think of what we’ve gotten in the first trailer?  I think it looks pretty good!  I’m a huge Melissa McCarthy fan, and while the joke is PRETTY obvious, there’s certainly potential for it to be really subversive of the cop genre and at the very least very interesting to watch.  I love the puppet designs here and in all honesty the incongruous nature of these goofy looking characters with a raunchy cop comedy isn’t nearly as enticing as seeing awesome puppets on the big screen again.  Sure, we had those two Muppet movies a few years back (this was in development well before those films by the way), but if it were up to me we’d be getting at least three puppet movies a year and in ALL sorts of genres for all sorts of audiences!  So the novelty will certainly be THERE and I’ll surely get a few chuckles out of it, but it needs to have more than just puppets acting crudely in order to be a GOOD film.  If that’s all they have up their sleeves, well Meet the Feebles, Crank Yankers, and TV Funhouse beat them to it.

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“I can’t HEAR you!  Over the SOUND!  OF ME STOMPING YOUR BALLS!!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Trailer Talk (Bohemian Rhapsody)

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Bohemian Rhapsody is owned by 20th Century Fox and all the images you see in this trailer talk are the property of their respective owners

Directed by Bryan Singer and Dexter Fletcher

OH MAMA MIA!  Has the day finally come for this biopic to see the light of day!?  A Queen biopic has been floating around in Hollywood for a solid decade at the least, and I remember when they were ready to go on one starring Sacha Barron Cohen as Freddie Mercury which is certainly something I would have loved to see but sadly ended up falling through like all the other attempts.  Now that we have the very first teaser trailer for this biopic, does it assuage the anxieties of eager fans as to whether Queen can be done justice on the big screen!?  Let’s find out!!

Initial impressions are… okay I guess.  You really shouldn’t expect TOO much to come out of a teaser trailer and we’ll surely get a few more before the film’s release in November, but I think they at least set the right tone to build up some hype before they start showing the meat of what this biopic will be about.  The music playing over the whole teaser is a mashup of a bunch of queen lyrics over the beat to We Will Rock You which sounds a BIT awkward at points (ESPECIALLY with the chorus to Killer Queen), but it actually works surprisingly well when layered over Bohemian Rhapsody.  We really don’t get any details on the plot other than the making of Bohemian Rhapsody will be a major subplot and that there’ll be a crap load of concert scenes throughout.  The actors look fine I guess with Rami Malek (Mr Robot) as Front Man Freddie CLEARLY getting the spotlight.  If I were to complain about one thing though, I’d say that he doesn’t quite look right as young Freddie with long hair even though he looks absolutely spot on for Mustache Freddie.

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“I can eat this microphone whole, and it’ll be the most beautiful thing you could imagine!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Trailer Talk (My Little Pony: The Movie)

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My Little Pony: The Movie and all the images you see in this trailer talk are owned by Lionsgate and Hasbro

Directed by Jayson Thiessen

Despite being such a popular series with a fan base that is heavily invested in the creative side of the process as much as it is in the show itself, there really hasn’t been much said about the My Little Pony movie that’s been in production.  Heck, it honestly feels like Equestria Girls, which was a spin off that only got a limited theatrical release, had MUCH more fanfare and anticipation surrounding it than something Hasbro is actually risking quite a bit of money on.  Okay, there’s no way we’re talking Transformers money here, but there’s no way a feature length animated feature with celebrity voices THIS famous was less than what they invested in freaking Jem and the Holograms which had its first trailer out five months before its release compared to four months for this film.  Still, an uneven marketing campaign doesn’t always spell doom for a film (*cough* Wonder Woman *cough*), and even if it’s a sign that the studio doesn’t have faith in the final product… well go ask Newmarket Films how that worked out with Donnie Darko.  Either way, let’s find out!!

Okay, so there’s no getting around it.  The movie looks PRETTY terrible based on this trailer.  The first thing you’ll notice is that the art style is quite different from the series which isn’t ALWAYS a bad thing (watching it for the first time, I was somewhat reminded of the changes made for the Spongebob Squarepants movie), but it doesn’t come off as an IMPROVEMENT and there are clearly areas where they were cutting corners; most notably with the copious use of CG for the buildings and backgrounds.

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WHERE THE HELL ARE ALL THE TEXTURES!?  Did they just forget to render them!?

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Cinema Dispatch: Trailer Talk (Star Wars: The Last Jedi)

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Star Wars: The last Jedi and all the images you see in this trailer talk are owned by Walt Disney Studios

Directed by Rian Johnson

Sure enough, Disney is going forward with their plan of turning the month of December into Star Wars month (Merry Lucas-mas!!) and they have just released the first teaser trailer for Episode VIII: The Last Jedi!  Now The Force Awakens topped my Best of 2015 list, and Rogue One ended up pretty high on my Best of 2016 list, so while the sense of HYPE isn’t really there this time (Disney knows what they’re doing and if this one doesn’t work we’ll have another one in 2018), I’m still rather interested to see where they go with the main story and hope they can build upon the success of The Force Awakens.  Anyway, let’s get started with the speculation!!

Now the first thing I noticed is that this trailer is cut EXACTLY the same as the teaser for The Force Awakens which is an interesting choice.  Both trailers are narrated by one of the characters in the movie, doesn’t connect to any of the scenes they actually show.  Both trailers start with a quite shot where one of the protagonists suddenly enters the frame with an accompanying musical sting.  Finally, both trailers are a collection sizzle shots to show off the graphics and incentivize speculation.  The only major difference in regards to the style of the two is the pacing.  While the teaser trailer for The Force Awakens had a strong sense of energy and movement, this one is much lower key and methodical with makes sense considering what the movie seems to be about.  At least partially, this movie is going to be about Rey’s training as a Jedi under Luke Skywalker which will require as much soul searching, meditation, and self-control as it will chopping dudes to bits with a glowing stick.

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“And then I’m gonna go WAAAA!  HIYAAAAA!  FFWWWOOOSHHHH!  And then everyone’s gonna go ‘YAAAAYYYYY!’ and then I’ll be all WOOHOOO!!!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Trailer Talk (Ghostbusters)

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Ghostbusters and all the images you see in this trailer talk are owned by Columbia Pictures

Directed by Paul Feig

If the internet wasn’t already bad enough for you, the announcement of a Ghostbusters movie with a female cast should have been enough to put it over the edge.  For reasons that are bafflingly petty, there are still a number of dumbasses who hated this movie just on principal.  The principal that… what, women suck?  I don’t know and frankly I don’t want to know.  This trailer though is the first chance that many of us will have to form an ACTUAL opinion on it rather than get blindly angry at it for no good god damn reason.  Does the trailers assuage the fears of those who legitimately had some hesitations for this, or will this be a complete mess of a reboot like… eighty percent of other reboots are?  Let’s find out!!

The trailer begins with that most sacred of reboot traditions; softly playing the original film’s theme over establishing shots that are accompanied by trailer text.  The text by the way is somewhat misleading as it references the original film (thirty years ago, four scientists saved New York) despite nothing else in here indicating that the Ghostbusters existed prior to the events depicted here (an actual reboot instead of a pseudo sequel).  The trailer proper is all about the origin of these four people coming together and as well as creating their equipment, though this could all just be some VERY creative editing on the marketing department’s part to hide anything that indicate them not being the first crew to carry the name.  I really hope that this IS a full on reboot though because having the original movie or the original cast be a presence here is just going to overshadow who the real stars of the movie are.  Speaking of which…

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“Here we come to save the DAY!!!”

 

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Cinema Dispatch: Trailer Talk (Spectre)

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Oh look!  Another James Bond film is coming out!  Who could have seen that coming!?  The new film, simply called Spectre, is the twenty-fourth film in the long running series and the fourth film to star Daniel Craig in the title role.  His track record has actually been pretty good so far with Casino Royale and Skyfall being great films in their own right (no one remembers Quantum of Solace so just shut up about it), but with them finally tackling the infamous organization in earnest (bringing in more of the old school features of the franchise), are they finally going to end up biting off more than they can chew?  Well we won’t know until November, but for now let’s look at the trailer!!

The trailer begins with James Bond getting lectured by the new M (if you want to know what happened to the old M, watch Skyfall) for going off on his own to Mexico for some reason.  Not sure what he was doing there, but it involved blowing up a building.

“DAMN IT JAMES!!  YOU BLEW UP TWENTY CARS AND THREE STADIUMS!!”     “Sorry Chief.”     “SORRY NOTHING!!  THE COMMISSIONER'S GONNA HAVE MY ASS!!”
“DAMN IT JAMES!!  YOU BLEW UP TWENTY CARS AND THREE STADIUMS!!”     “Sorry Chief.”     “SORRY NOTHING!!  THE COMMISSIONER’S GONNA HAVE MY ASS!!”

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